What is the greatest movie of all time? Opinions vary, naturally, but as with anything, a definitive authoritative list can be found ranking the best films of all time. In 1999 the American Film Institute ranked the top 100 films (feature-length American films, specifically), taking into account everything from initial critical reception to box office earnings to influence on later films to how well they have stood the test of time, and so on. The list was reviewed and updated in 2007, and the top ten contains the obvious suspects: “The Wizard of Oz,” “The Godfather,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Casablanca.” But as everyone knows, the number one spot is reserved for that most iconic of films: “Citizen Kane.”
It is hard to believe that Orson Welles’ magnum opus was actually poorly received upon its release. Newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst was irate at the film’s satirization of him, and so he launched a campaign against it, using his massive influence to dissuade critics, and thus audiences, from viewing it in a positive light. While it did receive a number of Academy Awards nominations that year, it won only an award for the screenplay, while being snubbed for Best Picture by John Ford’s “How Green Was My Valley.”
The film opens with the now-famous last words of newspaper magnate Charles Kane: “Rosebud,” he says, as a snow globe falls out of his lifeless hand. From there, investigators examine his life and work as a young star rising within the journalism industry to become one of the country’s most infamous newsmen. Throughout the story hangs the mystery of “rosebud”: what does it mean?
“Citizen Kane” screens tonight at the Iroquois Amphitheater. The film starts at 8:30 and admission is free. The Amphitheater is located at 1080 Amphitheater Road in Iroquois Park. It will be a beautiful evening – perfect for classic film in the outdoors.
Image: Internet Movie Database